WHAT WE’RE PACKING – a week in Paris with just a carry-on per person

It’s okay to be nosy.

There are TONS of websites and blogs with packing advice, but here’s what we ACTUALLY packed. Keep in mind, there are no “formal” events and, although it will be quite cool, there are no temps below freezing expected.

We are checking our carry-on bags, but the advantage of having something small and light enough to carry can’t be overstated.

On a river cruise, you only unpack once, but on other trips where trains and public transit come into play, you need to be able to manage your own luggage. Plus, it’s easier to keep track of a single piece, and leaves a hand free for stair and escalator rails!

My suitcase: 2 bottoms, 8 tops, 7 pr socks/hose, 2 bras, 7 underwear, 2 pyjamas, 2 pairs of shoes, makeup bag, spare eyeglasses, 8 pairs of earrings, 6 bracelets, 4 scarves, medications and a photocopy of our passports.

The details:

• I packed a pair of tailored black slim-leg jeans and a pair of black/wine floral jean-cut pants. Everything goes with black bottoms, and plain colours go with the floral bottoms. Plus, everything has to work multiple times AND be comfy.

• (1) a black jean jacket and black lace tee, (2) a black/wine/gold print tunic, (3) a black and white embroidered tunic, (4) a black and white cardigan with black silk cami that can also go under the jean jacket, (5) a wine “Paris” print top with sparkly Eiffel tower on the front, (6) a wine crochet-trim long sleeve top, (7) a wine georgette top, and (8) a wine 3/4 sleeved pullover.

• a wine coloured infinity scarf, a wine/black pashmina, a metallic gold scarf, a wine/black floral sheer scarf, and interesting earrings and bracelets for every change of top (they take up no room, so why not?)

• a pair of wine-coloured flats suitable for walking, and a pair of black kitten heels (to dress up the look of jeans for evenings…. cobblestones mean no heels during the day!)

What I packed was supplemented by what I wore on the plane.

• Black cross-body bag in cut-proof material, with secure zipped interior pockets for passports, etc. I don’t do a money belt…. but you could!

• lined black leggings (a non-jean alternative on the trip) and a black/wine print tunic soft enough to sleep in on the long flight

• a soft shawl to use as a light blanket, as well as to wear later

• black ankle boots (with a slip resistant sole and comfy enough for long walks)

• a water-resistant lightweight down winter coat (long enough to cover all tops, rolls into a pouch to pack small), with a pair of gloves and a headband tucked into the pockets

• Usually I would pack a collapsible umbrella, but Viking’s river boats have a supply of “loaner” umbrellas, so I saved that space and weight

Ted’s carryon held;

• 1 extra pair of nice jeans,

• 1 pair of dress pants,

• dress shoes,

• 7 short sleeved tees (you could substitute golf shirts if you like a collar),

• 3 long sleeved lightweight pullovers, dressy enough for dinner but warmer than a tee for daytime tours

• 7 dress shirts (for dinner – tie and jacket not needed, but the men do wear collared shirts for the most part). Gotta say, dress shirts are my nemesis. I have tried folding, rolling, packing cubes, dry cleaner plastic, tissue paper…. and just about every hint out there on the web. They still arrive with more wrinkles than I find acceptable. We’re going to bite the bullet this trip and pay 3 Euros each to have the shipboard laundry press them.

• a windbreaker, since his winter jacket is heavier than mine – a rollable down jacket is on our shopping list!

• Underwear, socks, toiletries, wires/chargers etc for our electronics

• Sunglasses

He wore jeans, a sweatshirt, walking shoes, his warm jacket, gloves and jaunty chapeau on the plane, and carried his camera bag which also held our i-pads.

Please let me know if you found this interesting … or useful. If so, I will continue to share our packing lists as we prep our short and long stays.


  1. Don’t forget that voltage is different and you will need special plug adapters.  Anne always takes a bunch of magnets for hanging things on cruise ship walls.  Teds shirt count for informal traveling seems excessive.  I have 7 golf shirts total for all the days we are on this cruise.  We always figure on at least 1 washing.  Be very careful with security.  We have heard France is especially bad. Never leave a bag unattended. They  can be picked up quickly and disappear. Only 1 pair of dress looking sneakers which I wear everywhere. David brought


  2. It always kills me when people take more than a carry on for a week… we have 1 big suitcase and a carry on each for 5 months…only because we want to buy some new summer stuff for Kent… his big one is literally half empty and we are at the resort for this week… requires more fancy clothes… have the best time!!!,


  3. At the beginning I was going to tell you of a friend who visited and had a list that even included kids socks. I’ve been impressed with Elaine for over forty years and now I’m dazzled by your list. I’m definitely forwarding this to Carolyn for her trip to Vienna. Sending it to Margie too. She NEEDS it

    Have a great time!!! Love you

    Sent from my iPad



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